- --- In Maury_and_Baty, Robert Baty wrote (post #2971):
> Todd's proposition was:
>> There are many transitional fossils
>> in the fossil record.
> To which David Willis opines:
>> This depends on how one defines a TF.
> I figured that, should a debate actually be attempted, the problem
> would involve such semantical problems with the defining of the
> terms used in the proposition.
> I get the impression that those who deny the existence of
> "transitional fossils" simply define the term in such a way that
> whatever someone else might identify as a "transitional fossil"
> isn't going to meet their definition.
> Hence, by definition, there are no transitional fossils.
> Similarly, by definition, they do exist.
> Perhaps Todd has away around the semantics problem, and it might
> make for a good discussion.
Actually, in any discussion I would just dig right into presenting
examples of transitional fossils. Then when the creationists started
playing word games I would simply point out that the creationist (1)
is purposely ignoring the transitional fossils that do exist (which I
would have presented some examples of) if and when he claims
that "there are no transitional fossils." If the creationist chooses
to ignore the empirical facts and just play word games, then, of
course, I will point out that the creationist is doing this.
Transitional fossils are fossils of organisms that possess
intermediate (transitional) morphological characteristics. The
chronological order of the fossils is also a factor, but not a strict
factor (because of the fact that species can branch [divergence] as
opposed to being just a singular transformation of the parent
species, and the fact that the fossil record is a biased statistical
sampling of organisms).
Punctuated equilibrium is a concept about the pattern of transitional
fossils in time and place. The argument does not propose or imply
that transitional fossils don't exist. (Golly, it doesn't even
propose or imply that "fine-grained" examples of gradual evolution in
the fossil record don't exist.) It is an argument about a certain
kind of pattern that is found with transitional fossils in a lot of
cases. Of course, you have to have good examples of transitional
fossils in order to make the argument in the first place.
I would note that David Willis did not address a single one of the
examples of transitional fossils mentioned by me in my previous post
or by others in the online references I provided. And, again, AiG
advises fellow creationists to not use this argument.